Health Metro Louisville

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it’s opened an investigation into Kentucky’s mental health services system, specifically related to people in Jefferson County. 

According to a statement, the department will investigate whether a lack of resources has caused people with severe mental illness to be unnecessarily institutionalized, or to have increased run-ins with police.

The investigation is being conducted under the Americans with Disabilities Act

“When people do not receive the community-based mental health services they need, they often get caught in a cycle of psychiatric hospital stays,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the statement. 

“This investigation also seeks to ensure that people with serious mental illness are not unnecessarily brought into contact with law enforcement. The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing the ADA so that people with disabilities are able to receive the services they need and qualify for, and that their civil rights are protected.”

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky said in the statement that a state “must make reasonable accommodations and provide appropriate community-based services to people with disabilities,” he said.

Individuals with relevant information can contact the Department of Justice via email at Community.Kentucky@usdoj.gov or through the Civil Rights Division’s Civil Rights Portal at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.

The investigation from separate ongoing investigations into Louisville Metro government and the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.